In Arthurian legend
, Sir Ector de Sauvage was a nobleman
and faithful knight
of King Uther
's court, who had wide holdings of land in both England
. He was entrusted by Merlin
with the care of King Arthur
, when Arthur was still a baby. Entrusting your children in another's house was a more common practice at this time, and indeed Sir Ector's own newborn son, Sir Kay
(or Cei, or Keu), was entrusted to a wetnurse to allow Ector's wife to nourish Arthur. King Uther gave Sir Ector "great rewards" before handing over little Arthur, wrapped in gold
no less, to encourage Sir Ector to follow Merlin's instructions.
Arthur never knew that Sir Ector was not his father. Sir Ector never knew the true identity of the little Arthur. Sir Ector's son, Sir Kay, grew up with Arthur as stepbrother. So fifteen years pass, and King Uther is dead. At a tournament in London, Arthur was serving as a page to Sir Kay, when he pulled the prophetic sword from the stone, becoming High King of Britain. When Sir Kay tried to take credit for the deed, Sir Ector caught the deception, and made his son swear how he came by the sword. So Kay and Arthur had to put the sword back into the stone, and then pull it out again, this time with Sir Ector as witness. Kay cannot, Arthur can, and consequently discovers his identity, and both he and Sir Ector are shocked.
The last role that Sir Ector plays in the chronicles is to ask that Sir Kay be made Seneschal of all Arthur's lands; a request with which Arthur agreed handily.
In The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, the second chapter, titled "Chapter Second: How Arthur Twice Performed the Miracle of the Sword Before Sir Ector and of How His Birthright Was Discovered Unto Him" details how Arthur twice performed the miracle of the sword before Sir Ector and of how his birthright was discovered unto him.
Ector is the Welsh form of the name Hector. In the legend, Sir Ector lived in Caer Gal, above the River Dee, west of Bala. In ancient Welsh sources, Sir Ector was named "Cynyr the Fair-Bearded", an actual, historical lord of Caer Goch, in Pembrokeshire.
Sir Ector should not be confused with Sir Lancelot's brother, Sir Ector de Maris, also from Arthurian legend.